A steering wheel is an essential part of any vehicle that is manipulated by the driver to control the movement of the car. Ever since its introduction in the 1800s, the steering wheel has gone through a lot of advancements. More and more options and features are added to it, with the primary purpose of allowing the driver to control multiple functions of the car without having to take his eyes off the road.
One affordable but important add-on to steering wheels is a steering wheel cover. At first glance, steering wheel covers will seem nothing more than just a decorative item. They are a quick and easy way to customize their steering wheels, and many people install these for the purpose of adding color and pop to their interiors. These covers come in just about any style imaginable, including designs of their favorite sports team to wood grain imitation for a classy appearance.
However, this aftermarket upgrade actually offers several benefits. And, these small benefits add up to a major improvement not only in driving comfort but also safety.
Benefits of Having Steering Wheel Covers
- Steering wheel covers add cushion grip and increase safety. Constant use can wear down the grip on a steering wheel over time, and this makes it slicker to the touch. This can potentially cause a disaster as control may become difficult at times, especially during situations like blowing out a tire on the highway. Steering wheel covers prevent the material on the steering wheel from wearing out and help improve your grip on the wheel.
- Steering wheel covers add comfort to driving. Steering wheel covers are temperature-resistant. Almost all drivers know the inconvenience of stepping into the vehicle on a sweltering summer day and touch a hot steering wheel. In the winter months, it is pretty much the same as the wheel can feel like ice. Also, many drivers find textured fabric or suede more comfortable for long drives than the hard, bare wheel.
- Steering wheel covers reduce driver fatigue. Some steering wheel covers feature ergonomic designs that help reduce the stress of the driver’s hands and provide for an overall better driving experience. These designs include finger grips, thumb pads, or memory foam inserts that serve as shock absorbers of sorts.
With the above-mentioned advantages of getting a steering wheel cover, it is important to find the right fit and cover for your vehicle.
Steps on How to Repair or Replace a Steering Wheel Cover
- Measure the steering wheel. It goes without saying that you need to first measure your steering wheel to get the right cover for it. First, measure the diameter and the thickness of the steering wheel using a tape measure. Wheel diameters can go from 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 inches), while grip thickness can range from 5 to 11 cm (2 to 4.5 inches).
- Prepare the steering wheel cover. Choose a steering wheel cover that matches the measurements of your wheel and the aesthetics of your vehicle. After this, clean the cover of your steering wheel using any piece of cloth or fabric and isopropyl alcohol. This prevents excess dirt or dust from getting caught under it.
- Install the steering wheel cover. There are two methods of installing the wheel cover – the stretching method and the stitching method. Stretch style covers fit over the wheels like a glove, while stitch style covers need to be sewn together.
- Stretching method
- Use a blower to soften stretch style covers. This step is crucial as it allows you to extend the flexibility of the cover enough for easy installation. Make sure to hold the blower approximately two to three cm (1 inch) away from the interior of the cover. Hold the heat for at least 10 seconds on each section.
- Start the installation process immediately after heating it by sliding the top side of the wheel cover over the top part of the steering wheel. The seam of the cover should be facing down.
- Stretch out both sides to ensure that the cover fits over the wheel better. The best way to do this is to alternate between the two sides and work gradually down the wheel until the entire cover has been attached.
- Finally, slide the cover over the bottom part of the wheel.
- Stitching method
- Stretch the cover over the steering wheel, while making sure that the side flaps line up with the spokes in the wheel. If a tape or any adhesive is included along with the cover, make sure to use it to help secure the cover in place.
- Thread the needle with lacing string. Run the needle through the sides of the cover and start sewing near the top of one of the spokes in the wheel. The string should be stretched over the wheel and not the wheel cover. Try to get both sides of the cover as close together as possible to create a cleaner look. Tie a knot at the end and remove any leftover string.
Installing and repairing a steering wheel cover takes time and patience. But the number of benefits and advantages it provides to any driving experience makes it worth the effort. A steering wheel cover is an affordable option to add style to your car’s interior, and it can keep the steering wheel in better condition for a more comfortable and safer drive.